Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday, I'm In Love

Greetings from Boredom Central!! Trying to while away the hour or so left in my workday before I leave for an exhibition hockey game. GO CAPS!! Apologies for the trite post title, but I thought this one was better than writing "TGIF."

In the past couple of weeks, my depression has come back full force. Lots of malaise, crying episodes and just generally feeling not able to handle all the tasks in my life. After much urging by my Fairy Godmother (i.e., my therapist), I went to go see the psychiatrist who prescribes my drugs, since my Fairy Godmother is not an MD.

I was hesitant because I didn't want to have my dosage increased. I felt that I've got a lot weighing on me right now, and that my emotional responses are how anyone else would feel when confronted with these things. While my doctor agreed with me, she said that it was important to make a distinction. Feeling sad or angry as I do is a "normal" reaction, but feeling hopeless and overwhelmed to the point of being frozen is not. What an increase would do is help me to help myself, overcome these feelings of being incapable of dealing with the problems in my life.

Of course, she's right. After our appointment, I felt more positive and while researching an item for work, found my latest project, 101 Things in 1001 Days (see here). After only one day of the increased dosage, I find myself more productive at work and more accepting of the issues in my life.

I'm quite proud of the list, which took some thought to put together. I'm also excited to start working on many of the items. Some of them I've started already. For example, for #61, I want to take a picture of JD and myself at least once a month. To that end, I've brought my camera with me and will make sure that I take a picture of us attending the hockey game. Yay!

I had to beg and plead, but was finally able to get John Dear to take a look at my 101 in 1001 list. JD seems very energized about it, and immediately replied with comments and questions on items in the list in order to help me accomplish the tasks. I tried to explain to him that I have 2.75 years to finish the list, so we don't need to dial up the crazy just yet. But I'm glad that he is as excited about the list as I am.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

101 Things in 1001 Days

The following list is inspired by several that I have seen on the web these past few days. For more info, you can look at Day Zero.

Jendeis' 101 in 1001 Project

The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (i.e., no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e., represent some amount of work on my part).

Start Date: September 27, 2007
End Date: June 24, 2010

1. Bring all wedding gifts from parents’ house to our house
2. Clean out room at parents’ house
3. Choose wedding pictures to have printed and to make parents’ albums
4. Keep fridge clear of impromptu experiments
5. Put together an “emergency” box (water, flashlights, etc.) for the house
6. Get a headboard for our bed
7. Paint bedroom
8. Use Mr. Clean Eraser on walls in house
9. Put together a Control Journal for the house
10. Assemble emergency kits for both cars
11. Write and properly execute wills
12. Spend 15 minutes (up to 1 hour) decluttering in each room of the house
13. Get VCR/DVD player fixed or get a new one
14. Apply Feng Shui rules to our house
15. Take an obedience class with The Boy, JD and me
16. Vacuum inside of car
17. Wash interior windows of car
18. Clean out JD’s car
19. Get an oil change in both cars
20. Put all CDs onto iTunes
21. Back up computer
22. Buy a china cabinet
23. Complete china service
24. Complete silverware service
25. Follow FlyLady’s mission of the month for one month
26. Find a white button-down shirt that fits well
27. Clean and organize 2nd bedroom
28. Have a baby
29. Make holiday gifts for all recipients (just once)
30. Volunteer at a community event
31. Spend 15 minutes on decluttering/house cleaning every day for a week

32. Shop at a farmer’s market
33. Eat 4 different local vegetables while in season
34. Use Crock-Pot to cook at least once a week for one month
35. Roast a chicken
36. Make challah
37. Make matzah ball soup
38. Try a new recipe from each of the cookbooks I own
39. Pack breakfast, lunch & snack to work for one week

40. Lose 28 lbs (that’s 10%)
41. Reach 240 lbs.
42. Reach 220 lbs.
43. Reach 200 lbs.
44. Reach 180 lbs.
45. Reach 160 lbs.
46. Get eyes checked
47. Floss every day for a month
48. Exercise 30 minutes every day for one month
49. Take a yoga class
50. Go on a hike

51. Bite back a nasty remark and replace with a loving remark
52. Read Kosher Sex by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
53. Find out rules for using a mikveh and go to one at proper time
54. Observe Pesach more by getting rid of chametz and cleaning kitchen completely
55. Instead of nagging, write a blog post instead
56. Listen to a meditation tape
57. Go to Shabbat services once a month for a year
58. Have Friday night Shabbat dinner at our house for family/friends
59. Read the Torah

60. Talk to my sister at least once a month (She's in grad school & is hard to reach)
61. Take a picture of JD and I at least once a month
62. Have a women-in-my-family dinner (can be at a restaurant)
63. Email friends from law school every 2 months
64. Take a vacation with BFF
65. Make 4 friends a CD mix just because
66. Call Gramie at least once a month
67. Call BFF at least once a month
68. Invite neighbors for dinner

69. Drive Skyline Drive in the fall
70. Visit Ireland
71. Visit Hawaii
72. Visit New England in the fall
73. Visit Austria
74. Visit Switzerland

75. Learn how to play the piano
76. Read all of Shakespeare’s plays
77. Try a magazine or newspaper-reviewed restaurant at least once a season
78. Go to a bingo game
79. Go horseback riding
80. Ride in a hot-air balloon
81. Learn how to knit
82. Learn how to put stuff on both sides of the blog page
83. Go to a wine tasting
84. Take a golf lesson
85. Take a cooking class
86. Take a dance class with JD
87. Post on blog at least once a week
88. Learn to speak German
89. Check out a music appreciation lecture from the library
90. Read 10 books that you haven’t read from 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
91. Make a quilt
92. Organize workplace to send care packages to soldiers
93. See all of my company’s properties

94. Get JD’s financial information to accountant
95. Find out rules about ROTH IRA’s and 401(k)’s
96. Begin contributing to my 401(k)
97. Save at least $20,000 for a new house
98. Eat out only once a week for one month
99. Take out only once a week for one month
100. Use 5 clipped coupons at grocery store
101. Put together and follow a budget for six months

All Hail John Dear

Comes now the obligatory post detailing the household tasks accomplished by my husband, John Dear, this Wednesday of late, the twenty-seventh day of September in the year two-thousand and seven. All hail John Dear.

John Dear's Herculean Tasks

  1. Pick up The Boy at doggie daycare so I didn't have to.

  2. Pick up the dry cleaning (including a dress that had not been returned to us that I totally forgot about it till I saw it in its baggie in the closet).

  3. Drop off new clothes to be dry cleaned.

  4. Collect and drop off clothes at the wash 'n fold place.

  5. Determine whether or not chicken breasts were defrosted enough to make for dinner.

  6. Make a nutritious dinner of chicken with specifically-requested barbeque sauce and vegetables.

  7. Put up with a wife whose sarcasm is de trop.

In all seriousness, thank you John Dear for accomplishing this and all the other tasks that you do. You are a great helpmeet and I love you.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Later than usual this morning due to craziness (what else?) at the office and taking longer than usual to plan out the week. Hoping that we'll be eating all of the meals at home as I'm trying to cut back after a spending splurge in other areas. After the Jewish Holidays, John Dear is back to his usual low-carb diet, so healthy meals for us!

Monday: Salmon fillet (steamed broccoli & cauliflower)

Tuesday: Meatloaf (mashed broccoli & cauliflower) Will make 2, 1 to use, 1 to save.

Wednesday: BBQ chicken breast (brown rice w/ stewed tomatoes)

Thursday: Chicken breast w/ cream of celery soup (green beans & onions)

Friday: Whole wheat pasta w/ tofu & stir-fry veggies

Saturday: Soup & sandwiches

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner (my favorite!)

For other meal plans, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie every Monday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Messy Desk Haiku

Oy, full of papers
Mail unopened there is
Desperation, stuck.

Reusable Bags Giveaway

Amy over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess is having a giveaway of reusable lunch bags.

Reusable Bags has offered up two of their best-selling reusable bags to one lucky winner : theWorkhorse Style 1500 and the Lightweight Recycled Cotton Tote with Dual Handles, both made by ACME Bags.
You can enter over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess by 10 PM, Wednesday, September 26th. Good luck!!

For cool lunch-packing tips and beautiful photos, visit Biggie's site, Lunch in a Box: Building a Better Bento.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Barking Seal

Yeah, that's me. Both John Dear and I have been sick all weekend; both taking the day off of work on Friday to lay around sneezing, sniffling, coughing and puking (that was just me - yes, I reserve the special jobs for myself).

No real menu plan for us this week until we start feeling better. For now, it's easy stuff like soup and sandwiches. For better menu plans than mine, see I'm An Organizing Junkie every Monday.

In the event that we do start feeling more up to snuff, I'll be following a free "body clutter" menu plan that I downloaded from the Dinner Diva at her site, Saving Dinner.

**Picture from Big Girl Feet**

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's 3 AM, I Must Be Awake

I am sick with a very bad sore throat, turning into a bad cold. Went to sleep last night at 7:30 PM. JD woke me up with his snoring (he was not wearing his CPAP) and I've been up since 3 AM. It is now almost 6 PM. I am not so happy with JD right now.

Rosh Hashanah was very nice yesterday. Woke up early, got dressed, took The Boy to doggie daycare, then drove up to my parents' house. I had breakfast with my parents and my sister, then we all drove up to shul for services.

The service was packed! Tons of people!

[Just spilled half a glass of very cold water on myself because I thought the glass only had a drop inside. OK, got a new blanket to sit with and am ready to go.]

This was my first experience with the new assistant rabbi. She was ordained this past June, so this was her first High Holidays with our congregation. Her sermon was on the importance of welcoming neighbors into your home and your life. It was OK, much better than what our Head Rabbi puts out.

Had lunch at my parents' house, then headed over to my in laws' to spend some time there at a party that they have every year. Same food, same people, same migraine from the stress of my mother-in-law and the poorly modulated speaking volume of all of her friends.

I apologize for having lost my usual cherub-like demeanor, but I'm sick and in desperate need of sleep. Have decided that I will stay home today so that I don't infect anyone at work. Unfortunately, I've exhausted most of the good things that are available on On Demand cable, so I'm watching a boring hearing on C-SPAN till something better comes on or I fall asleep or both.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy 30th Birthday John Dear

Today is John Dear's 30th Birthday. Because his birthday often falls around the Jewish holidays, we usually need to move things around in order to celebrate. This past weekend, we had a Board Games Party with family and friends. Games Played:

  • Chess
  • Pictionary
  • Monopoly
  • Robo-Rally
  • God of War II
  • Yourself! Fitness (not really a game, but an exercise program on PlayStation 2 (and others) demonstrated to guests at the party)
John Dear had a great time and got to play games that he never gets to play. Overall, I think the party went really well. Plus, JD was able to stay on his low-carb diet. Food served:
  • Veggie Platters
  • Mesquite Chicken Wings w/ Ranch Dressing
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Hye Rollers (my favorite sandwich from Costco - a turkey, swiss, lettuce, tomato and cranberry cream cheese wrap)
  • Breyer's Low-Carb Rocky Road Ice Cream
  • Costco Yellow Cake (for the rest of us)

As a nod to JD's birthday, we will be serving at Rosh Hashanah Dinner, per his request, pie from Mom's Apple Pie shop. We're serving apple pie, because it goes with Rosh Hashanah.

WFMW - Comfort Food

In our melting pot of a country, everyone has a different definition of comfort food. For some, it's macaroni and cheese; for others, it's Popeye's Fried Chicken biscuits. (Oh, is that only me? Moving on...)

Tonight marks the start of the Jewish New Year. Every family has different traditions for a holiday meal, and the items on the menu may change from time to time, but here are the must-haves of my family's Rosh Hashanah.
  • Apple slices dipped in honey to symbolize the sweetness of the coming new year
  • Chicken soup with matzah balls, a traditional Jewish course
  • Deviled eggs, no symbolism here, my family just really likes deviled eggs (although eggs in Judaism and many other religions symbolize the life cycle and so would symbolize the wholeness of the year starting anew)
  • Potato Kugel (that is, potato pudding)
For all holidays, my job is to make the potato kugel. What follows is my recipe adapted from my mother's cookbook for Jewish Holidays. I can't remember who wrote the cookbook, but will update the post after the holiday.

Potato Kugel
side dish, meat or pareve, serves as many as you wish

10-12 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
1 egg
1/2 cup matzah meal (you could also use breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup chicken fat or margarine, melted + some more (not melted) for greasing pan
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Lemon juice as needed

Peel and grate the potatoes. In order to prevent the potatoes from turning brown or black, place peeled potatoes in a pot of water with a couple drops of lemon juice and keep them there until they are grated.

You can use a food processor, but I think this turns out better when you grate by hand. Once grated, add a little more lemon juice (a little dab'll do ya) and mix. Add finely chopped or grated onion, egg, matzah meal, chicken fat, salt and pepper. Mix together until blended.

Scoop mixture into a greased pan and cook at 400 degrees for at least 1 hour. Top will look toasty and golden brown. When a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, you're done! Serve hot. The dish will keep in the fridge for a good couple of days so don't worry if you have leftovers.

L'shanah Tova to everyone! May you have a sweet new year with family and friends!

See more hints and tips every Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

WFMW - "Brand Loyal" Edition

I am a marketer's nightmare (or dream, depending on how you look at it) since I am inclined to remain brand-loyal on a host of different products. John Dear, in his one, thin strand of practicality is much more likely than I to shop all different brands for the best price.

Of all the products in the supermarket, the one I never, ever waver from is Open Pit Barbecue Sauce (also available here). Open Pit is awesome, Open Pit is great, I will use Open Pit till I am Two Hundred Eight (thank you, Dr. Seuss). Even with a recipe change in the 90s and my husband sticking his tongue out in disgust, I remain as loyal as ever. I live in fear of the day that Kraft Foods ends this brand -- the day that I will have to run to every warehouse store in America and stock up on my beloved sauce. Forever shall my fridge carry two barbecue sauces, Open Pit for me and another for the barbarians.

For more ideas, tales and themed posts every Wednesday, check out Shannon's blog, Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Before Bed Routine

As a fluttering FLYbaby, I'm trying to follow the instructions for putting together and WRITING DOWN a short before bed or evening routine for myself. Here's what I've got:

After Dinner Routine

  1. Check calendar
  2. Pack lunches and snacks for tomorrow
  3. Clean up kitchen

Before Bed Routine

  1. Walk The Boy
  2. Check calendar; bring glass of water to bedroom
  3. Set out clothes for tomorrow
  4. Wash face/brush teeth/take pills
  5. Time with JD/go to bed

And We're Back!

Hope that everyone had a relaxing Labor Day weekend; ours was nice. We spent Saturday and Sunday in visiting JD's family in order to celebrate JD's great aunt's 90th birthday. As JD has been having some issues with his immediate family, we elected to stay at a nearby motel rather than on one of the (broken and excruciatingly uncomfortable) pullout couches at JD's aunt's house with the rest of the family. Many thanks to JD's aunt for making us reservations at a new motel; next time, we'll pick a motel not located between a state housing project and the state prison.

We had a lovely dinner at a JD's family-favorite restaurant on Saturday night. Because we were seated outside with another large family, JD's nephews were able to run around a little and use some outside voices. That made the dinner much less stressful than usual. Plus, the food was delicious. If you are in the Staten Island, NY area, we highly recommend Portobello.

On Sunday, we spent the majority of the day at JD's aunt's house. JD was in the basement most of the day with his nephews who forced him to play Nintendo for hours on end (they being too young to play it themselves). I spent the day chatting with relatives and taking a nap by the pool. We had a nice lunch and later, a wonderful kaffeeklatsch with JD's relatives.

I hope to be as healthy and look as good at 90 as does JD's great aunt. This venerable matriarch swims laps every day and is a devoted follower of 2 major league baseball teams. She literally stopped the party so that she could go in and watch her games. (I must say, however, that if watching baseball or rooting for the Yankees is the key to longevity, I am not long for this world.)

In one of the smartest moves ever, JD and I drove home on Sunday night. No sitting in loads of Labor Day traffic for us! Plus, I got uninterrupted time with my audiobook (The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova) because JD was sleeping most of the drive home. Yay!

Yesterday, I was able to unpack both suitcases, do some laundry, made our menu plan, went grocery shopping, exercised, cooked dinner and put together lunches for us to take today to work. Yay me!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

I've been gone for awhile dear reader and promise to update you soon on the happenings in my life. For now, I tempt you with my menu plan for the week (both low-carb and with Weight Watchers Points calculated).

Monday: Meatloaf (salad w/ oil & vinegar; frozen broccoli & cauliflower) (7 pts.)
Tuesday: Honey-Soy Chicken with Mango Salsa (salad w/ oil & vinegar; whole-wheat couscous) (11 pts.)
Wednesday: Turkey Chili (carrot sticks w/ ranch dressing; Grapes) (6 pts.)
Thursday: Apricot Turkey Breast with Cinnamon Squash (sugar snap peas) (10 pts.)
Friday: Sesame Shrimp (salad w/ oil & vinegar; green beans) (6 pts.)

**The recipes below are from the Weight Watchers website. The Sesame Shrimp recipe is from Saving Dinner the Low-Carb Way.**

Honey-Soy Chicken with Mango Salsa
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup onion(s) finely chopped
2 Tbsp cucumber(s) chopped
2 Tbsp ground coriander leaves
1 Tbsp unsweetened lime juice
1/2 medium mango(es) chopped
1 cup cooked couscous
2 cup mixed greens
1 cup tomato(es) sliced
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp vinegar
6 oz uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast

Marinate chicken in honey and soy sauce for 30 minutes. Combine mango, onion, cucumber, coriander and lime juice and set aside. Cook chicken breast in nonstick pan until tender and browned. Serve chicken topped with mango salsa on a bed of couscous. Complement with salad tossed with oil and vinegar.

Turkey Chili
1/4 cup onion(s) chopped
4 oz lean ground turkey
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup carrot(s) with
2 Tbsp reduced-calorie salad dressing ranch
1 cup grapes

Sauté onions in a non-stick skillet until onions are soft. Add ground turkey, tomato sauce and chili powder. Cook until turkey is no longer pink. Serve with vegetable sticks and dressing. Save the grapes for dessert.

Apricot Turkey Breast with Cinnamon Squash
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp table salt
1 item acorn squash
1 tsp margarine
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar snap peas
8 oz boneless, skinless turkey breast(s)
1 Tbsp apricot jam

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread turkey with jam and sprinkle with ginger and season to taste. Bake until no longer pink. Microwave squash until almost cooked. Top with margarine and cinnamon. Serve turkey and squash with snap beans.